Similarly, it is written, "When you come into the land of Canaan...and I will give the plague of tzara'at in the house of the land of your possession." (Lev. 14:34) Is plague a good reward that it be found among those worthy of entering the land? But it has been explained (Vayikra Raba 7:6) that it is in order to find treasures hidden in their houses, that Israel may benefit from them.

Yet come and see, fortunate are Israel that they cleave to G‑d. And G‑d loves them as written, "I have loved you, says G‑d." (Malachi 1:2) In His love, He brought them into the holy land [related to malchut/Shechinah] to cause His Shechinah to rest among them and to dwell among them so that Israel will be holier than all the inhabitants of the world.

Come and see, it is written, "And all the women whose hearts stirred them..." (Ex. 35:26) When they were doing their work, they used to say, 'This is for the Temple, this is for the Tabernacle, that is for the curtain.' And all the craftsmen did the same, so that holiness shall dwell on their efforts and that workmanship shall be sanctified. When they brought it to its place, it arose in holiness [through their speech].

In the same way, whoever creates something for idol worship or for the other, unholy side, once he mentions [idol worship] in regard to that work, the spirit of defilement dwells on it. As the work is completed, it is in impurity. The Canaanites were idol worshippers and all joined together as one in a spirit of impurity and they built edifices for their images and for their abominations on the side of impurity, for the purpose of idol worship. When they started building, they would say something [to designate it for idol worship]. Once it was uttered, the spirit of impurity arose on the building. As the work was completed, it was in impurity.

Once they entered the land of Israel, G‑d wanted to purify and sanctify the land for them, and make room for the Shechinah so that the Shechinah would not rest amidst impurity. Hence, by that plague of tzara'at they would demolish the buildings of wood and stone made in impurity.

Come and see: if this action was done only for the sake of finding treasures, they would return the stones back into place as they were and the dust to its place. Yet Scripture says, "they take away the stones," (Lev. 14:40) and, "he shall take other dirt." (Ibid. 14: 42) Thus the spirit of impurity will be removed and taken out, and shall now be sanctified and Israel will dwell in holiness, in holy habitation, in order that the Shechinah dwell among them.

Therefore, whoever builds a building, before starting should utter by mouth that he does so for the worship of G‑d, since it is written, "Woe to him that builds his house by unrighteousness." (Jer. 22:13) Then help from Heaven rests on it, and G‑d readies His sanctity upon it and calls it peace. This is the meaning of, "And you shall know that your tent is at peace (Job 5:24)
[and there is no sin].

BeRahamim LeHayyim: What does this mean to you, and why is it being revealed now?

G‑d desires the heart, and if the heart is in the right place and is coupled with a good deed, there is a supernal union of the highest magnitude, and good angels are created, and the world is at peace and sings! But take a good deed with a bad intention, and we are told that negativity attaches to it. Surely they get reward in this world, but what about the next? May all the buildings you create be for the sake of Heaven! And may all be for peace. Amen.

Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
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